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African American Resources

Design Your Own Quarter

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Instructions for building a Family Tree



A family tree is a place to record your family members, to show the generations of your family as far back as the record you have can take you.  It can stat with you and go backward in time or it can start with your oldest ancestors and move forward to today.  It the U.S., learning about one's ancestors is a source of pride; a way of connecting with history in a personal way.  Forced to break crucial family bonds as a result of slavery, newly freed people saw genealogical records like family trees, as documentation of their great strength in overcoming extreme obstacles.

In honor of Black History Month, like those newly freed people who sought to reconnect with family, the San Antonio Public Library encourages you to take the journey to reconnect with yours.  If you have already started, perhaps this will encourage you to continue.  If you haven't started yet, let this be the nudge to get you started.  Here are some tools to help.


  1.  Grab the Family Tree and make a copy, just in case you spill something on the first one.  Then fill in as many of the blanks as you can.
  2. Next, take the pedigree chart and start at the left side with yourself and work your way to the right, filling in as much information as you know about your family.  Gather what you already know about your family.  If available, look at old obituaries for more information.  Don't be afraid to ask for assistance from other family members.  They may remember things and people differently.  Document as much as you can.  Be sure and cite your sources.
  3. Next, gather pictures of the people on your chart.  Take pictures of yourself, your parents, grandparents, etc.

When you feel that you have gone as far as you can, do you still have blank spaces?  If so, contact the Texana/Genealogy Department at the Central Library.  You can call us at 210-207-2500 or email:  We're always happy to show you our resources that can help you fill in the blanks.  You can also find specific African-American resources here.

Have Fun Creating Your Family Tree!